The choices we make. The ones we live for. And the ones we live with.
February 2019 has been an incredibly hard month for me. My father was unwell and having complicated surgery in Mumbai. A surgery that ended up requiring two follow up surgeries to combat unexpected side effects. Unfortunately, the hospital involved refused to allow children below the age of twelve on their premises. And rightfully so. I fully agree with the rule. In principle. In actuality, I wanted to go down there and destroy their hospital brick by brick.
Because they kept me from being there for my father at the one time in his life when he needed me. Well, technically, circumstances did but still. Because, while I was a daughter who desperately wanted to be there for my father, I was also a mother who is in many ways practically a single parent. With nowhere to leave her and the hospital unwilling to let me take her along, I was left with only one thing to do. Choose. Who was I going to be? A daughter or a mother?
After listening to everyone tell me that my mother and brother were with my Dad and knowing that Z had no one other than me, I did the only thing I could. I stayed back. I prayed. I waited. I loved. And I hoped it was enough.
I have never in my life felt more restless, more pointless and more useless than I did in this last month. But this was never about me. Not from the very first moment of this crisis or at the very last. To know that I couldn’t be there for one of the people who has always moved the world to see that I have never wanted for anything destroyed me at a fundamental level. Even knowing that he was in the best hands possible with the rest of the family at hand didn’t help. Even knowing that my three year old had no one but me didn’t help. There was at the end of the day no choice and still it was one that sat heavy in my heart.
So, I took my daughter to school, attended her science exhibition and her soccer day. I helped her choose the perfect birthday cake, cut it with her classmates and blow out the candles even as I answered endless questions about why her grandparents weren’t there to sing Happy Birthday along with everyone else. I learned in this last month that there are rarely easy choices but there are the ones that we make and live with. The choice, that we think is in our hands, is one that’s decided for us on a playing field we never knew existed.
As I type this post, my father is recovering and being discharged and coming home by the end of the next week. A fact I am profoundly grateful for. Grateful also to a God I incessantly harassed over the last month and to a family, both immediate and extended, who rallied around us like never before.
There are three things in life I will never take lightly. Family, health and love. We are who we are for the foundation we stand on. For the people who birthed us. Who made us. Who love us. Who are us.